Residents of Ardentinny have long been aware that the village is indeed the jewel in the crown of the Cowal peninsula. However, last week, we were fortunate to meet up with a gentleman seeking out other types of treasures. Complete with metal detector and ever-patient dog ‘Misty’, Wales-based Roger Howell is a regular visitor to our shores in search of long lost hidden treasures.
Roger used to work in the area and is therefore familiar with its rich history. A keen metal detectorist, during his couple of days on Ardentinny beach, Roger came across several interesting finds including two toy brass soldiers (one headless, the other with a single leg) most likely from the turn of the 19th century, a tiny Beatrix Potter-type brass rabbit, a peuter napkin ring and a couple of Minié Balls (bullets) most likely from the 1800’s.
Roger was particularly surprised by the quantity of lead material he uncovered. However, given Ardentinny’s history as a fishing village, these were most likely used as weights on fishing nets.
One of the excellent environmental side effects of these keen metal hunters is that any “scrap” metal unearthed such as ring-pulls and broken bottle tops are collected and either recycled or deposited in a litter bin. The rubbish is never returned to the beach.
It was a depleted committee which attended the August Community Council meeting with 3 members absent from a community council which is already short of a secretary and one other member. Ardentinny.org was asked to report these vacancies in the hope that some community-spirited residents might come forward to fill the gaps.
Nevertheless, it was an informative meeting. There was no correspondence or Police report for consideration and the Treasurer reported no movement in the CC’s bank account which stood at £2069.54 on 20.7.2011.
Councillor Bruce Marshall reported that he had achieved the agreement of the relevant department to replace the two Ardentinny road signs at either end of the village. He also reported that the Jet Patcher, of which there are only two in Argyll, had been patching the village potholes on the day of the meeting, i.e., 2 August, 2011.
Jessie Crowe of Forestry Commission Scotland gave her report:
The proposed fence at the nursery field has been held up by work being done at the camp site. Once the latter is complete, the fencing will go ahead. There have been problems with the hedge-cutting machine which has also caused delays elsewhere. The riverside path has been cleared and the work on the Stronvochlan road is ongoing.
The addition of two more litter bins at the beach area is judged to have been about 90% successful in encouraging users to properly dispose of their litter. However, there is still a significant problem of damage to trees in the pursuit of firewood.FCS will prosecute the culprits, if caught.
36 police hours have been obtained from Operation Ironworks and so there will be patrols taking place in the area. The blue water pipe supplying water to the bowling club has been buried and, while the water system requires a fourth filter, the supply is on.
Forest Holidays had visited the Nursery Field with a view to using it as one of their sites. However, they have decided against this due to the nature of the approach roads.
The rhododendron cutting programme is underway and it has been judged that the bridge on the Carrick route does not need a rail installed. This concluded the FCS report and this, now regular, attendance by a representative of the FCS is very positive in that it provides information to the public which might not otherwise be so readily accessible.
The use of hydro power as an energy source for the village was discussed and the Community Council is looking for someone to take this project forward.
The necessity for signs warning of steep bends and an approach to a main road + the danger of ice over the Larach elicited lively discussion. Ultimately it was agreed that Councillor Marshall would request said signs and that the Convenor would write to the Director of Transport conveying the community’s concern re the matter.
Invited speaker Colin McColl of Strathclyde Fire & Rescue addressed the question of the use of fireworks near animals. He stated clearly that there is no legislation applicable to this situation but what is required is common sense. He went on to say that animals should be kept away from fireworks and fireworks away from animals and that the Royal
Veterinary College recommends notice of fireworks should be at least half a day but there is no law to stipulate this and it is simply common sense. Community Councillor Steven Johnstone asked about the regulations regarding camp fires. Colin McColl responded by saying that the law states that there should be no bonfires, and therefore, camp fires lit between 7 p.m. and 8 a.m.
Another question was raised about the issue of Chinese lanterns. It was cited that it had been the discussion on the BBC’s One Show that evening which had highlighted the problems they could cause, from house fire to injury to livestock. Colin responded that they were a significant risk but that again it was down to common sense.
Other items discussed included the National Park’s withdrawal of the housing allocation for the village in the Local Plan and the question of aerial spraying and whether or not it is the responsibility of the Community Council to inform residents in advance of this taking place. There was disagreement among the committee on this issue and it was tabled for discussion at the next Community Council meeting which will take place on 4 October at 7.30 p.m. in the Village Hall.
Ardentinny Community Trust Ltd. held its AGM on Friday 22 July, 2011. It appears to have been a packed year for the Trust’s Walled Garden sub-committee which stacked up various meetings with Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE); Development Trust Association Scotland (DTAS), of which it is now a member; Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations (SCVO); and Forestry Commission Scotland (FCS) and its independent panel of advisers. There were also seminar and conference attendances in Campbeltown, Blantyre, and Ardfern and knowledge and skills exchange visits in Rothesay and Haddington.
In the interim it prepared a successful application, which included its first draft business plan, to FCS for the community purchase of Glenfinart Walled Garden, in accordance with the expressed wishes of Ardentinny residents. It also prepared and submitted grant funding applications to the Co-op Community Fund; Trusthouse Charitable Foundation; Highlands & Islands Enterprise (HIE); Awards for All; and LEADER.
It has already received initial grants from HIE and Firstport which, having to be spent before the end of the last financial year, secured the cost of conveyancing and other legal services and the purchase of a poly tunnel, in preparation for the garden’s first cash crop. There has also been local fund raising with a regular stall at Ardentinny’s weekly open mornings at the village hall and at Kilmun Flea market. Local artists have been very supportive of the project, donating their work in aid of the charity and Pauline Gordon, the Trust’s Treasurer, reported a current walled garden bank balance of £4,038.22.
There are further fund raising plans for a garden party in September; a raffle; guided historic walks from next spring; a bag packing day at Morrisons on Nov. 26th; a cello concert in December and a Variety Concert in Dunoon in January 2012. The committee also has plans to sell its own line of EWE products which will be well designed, locally produced, arts and crafts which can be taken to markets locally and further afield and the Trust also plans to publish a History of Ardentinny and Glenfinart which should go on sale next spring with all profits going to the walled garden charity.
During the meeting a proposal was made that the Trust hold open meetings every two months in order to raise awareness of the work being done, further advertise the project, and hopefully attract more donations and/or loans. This was agreed. In accordance with the Trust Constitution, all the Directors stood down and the following were elected to the Board: Dennis Gower, Pauline Gordon, James Gordon, Merle Ferguson, and Anna Williamson. Officers will be elected at the next Directors’ meeting.
It is also the intention of the Board to appoint three more directors with specific skills necessary for the project. In addition to the Board, there are plans to appoint a part-time, self-employed project development manager supported by grant funding. The Trust’s updated Glenfinart Walled Garden Business Plan will soon be available on its website www.GlenfinartGarden.org. This 22 page document grew out of the Trust’s initial village survey and continuing consultations. It is also intended to reflect its subsequent research and work in trying to deliver, not only the purchase of this community asset but to incorporate as many as possible of the community’s requested uses and functions of the garden in a viable and sustainable way. Plans, being what they are, are adaptable to changing needs and circumstances and it is hoped that the immediate and wider community will engage in taking this exciting project forward.